Hoping for summer heat? Most Canadians won't get it, Dave Phillips warns

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Published June 21, 2019 1:13 p.m. ET
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Even more heat for western provinces that suffered forest fires this spring, and likely no change for a central Canada still hoping for sunny skies—the forecast for Canada’s summer is looking like more of the same, Environment Canada’s Dave Phillips says.

The agency’s senior climatologist spoke to CTV News Channel Friday morning, on the first official day of summer, to share his outlook for the coming months. Phillips said that current weather patterns aren’t likely to shift fast, and he admitted wishing we could “change the weather around.”

“Bring the West, what they’ve had, to us — and give them the kind of moisture that we’ve had,” he suggested. “We’d be happy campers, but it doesn’t work that way.”

Typically by this time, he said, the first “taste of summer” has already arrived. But this year, it’s been largely confined to western Canada.

“We had some pretty dry conditions, of course, that lead to forest fires,” he said. “We’ve seen temperatures that have gone up to 35, 36 degrees. So clearly some summery-like weather there in the spring. Here, in the eastern part of Canada, we’re still waiting. It’s like spring was sort of missing in action.”

Freezing rain warnings on May 1 in some parts of Ontario. Communities across provinces experiencing temperatures several degrees below average levels. Severe flooding in parts of Ontario and Quebec. It’s been a difficult spring.

In eastern and central Canada, “we really have had no lead-up, no dress rehearsal with regards to the summer-like weather,” Phillips said.

“Last year, some people complained that we had too much summer. This year it may be that we don’t have enough summer.”

According to Environment Canada, the summer weather is looking to be a continuation of the spring.

It’s expected to get warmer and warmer the more west you are. While British Columbia and Alberta are likely going to be high above normal temperatures, Manitoba and Saskatchewan will be warmer than normal, but closer to past summer temperatures.  Phillips said the Maritimes are “going to see some southerly air coming up to them.”

But in Ontario and Western Quebec, “where millions of Canadians live and are waiting anxiously for some indication that summer is going to happen, it just may be more of the same,” Phillips said. “Here in the central part (of Canada), it’s been rain, rain, and more rain, we just can’t string two or three good days in a row!”

Temperatures are expected to be “comfortable” there, unlike the heat that killed nearly 100 people in Quebec and prompted coast to coast heat warnings last summer.

Meanwhile, western regions could struggle to see much rain, according to Environment Canada.

Precipitation is difficult to predict over a three month period, but current models are showing that areas already suffering from dryness in western Canada are going to stay dry, Phillips said. And, although there were some “million dollar rains” on some of the southern prairies this week, he said, farmers will need more than that — the opposite problem that Ontario is having.

“There are some good things about a lacklustre kind of a summer,” Phillips said about central Canada’s predicament. “I don’t think people will be dying because of the weather.”

But he acknowledged that some residents in Ontario and central Canada may be frustrated.

“We had a tough fall, a tougher winter, the spring has been disappointing, so I think we’re thinking that we’re owed some summer-like weather,” he said. “Nature never pays attention to our needs.”

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